Bellingham was ‘rejected’ by Champions League giant due to 17-year-old ‘diamond’

Paris Saint-Germain rejected the opportunity to sign Jude Bellingham last year, according to reports. It is claimed that PSG chiefs didn’t want to block the path of teenage academy graduate Warren Zaire-Emery.

Bellingham was one of the hottest prospects in the whole of Europe last year. The England star was still a teenager himself when he starred for the Three Lions at his first World Cup and second major tournament.

It was his third season at Borussia Dortmund and his most productive in terms of goals and assists. He registered 12 goal contributions in 31 Bundesliga matches to continue to enhance his reputation.

A move this summer always looked likely and it was announced early that he would be moving to Real Madrid, after Liverpool pulled out of the running for financial reasons. Bellingham has hit the ground running following his initial £88million move to the Bernabeu.

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He has scored five goals in his first five La Liga matches, immediately becoming a fan favourite. But it could have been so different if he had moved a year earlier.

French outlet Le Parisien claims Bellingham’s representatives approached PSG about the possibility of signing their client. However, sporting director Luis Campos decided against pursuing the midfielder.

PSG had a wonderkid of their own who Campos felt would not benefit from Bellingham’s high-profile arrival. Zaire-Emery only turned 17 in March so would have been 16 when the Bellingham proposal was turned down.

Zaire-Emery featured 29 times in all competitions last season, including eight starts in Ligue 1. For a team of the quality of PSG, that is some achievement for a player of his age.

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He has already picked off where he left off last term. He has started all five Ligue 1 games under Luis Enrique and earned rave reviews for his performances ahead of the return of the Champions League this week.

Enrique recently said: “Zaire-Emery, I adore him, without a doubt, he is an incredible player. He is 17 years old, he has everything to become one of the most important elements of the workforce.

“He is a very hard-working, very technical player. I am lucky to have a diamond in the rough.”

Zaire-Emery is more defensive than Bellingham so won’t yet have the goal output of his fellow midfielder. But PSG must be credited for not blocking the path of a player who first joined the club at the age of eight.

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